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A passion for politics and public policy

Always think bigger: Life after Union

Hometown: Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Majors: Africana Studies, History
Graduate Work: Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, the University of Michigan, Class of 2016
Work: National Policy and Communications Director, Million Hoodies Movement for Justice; former deputy press secretary for U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

Peter Haviland-Eduah, former Student Forum president and football standout, is tackling some of society’s most complex and difficult issues.

As a director of the Million Hoodies Movement, he is part of a group devoted to “transforming the public narrative on the mass criminalization and stigmatization of communities of color.

“Our goal is to maintain and uplift communities that been silenced over time,” he says.

Peter has found many outlets for his activism. At Union, he was a member of the Black Student and a participant in the inaugural three-week Civil Rights Public History Mini-Term.

“I doubt I will ever forget what it was like to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Alabama. Standing on the same land, under the same sky, as those who came before us was a very emotional experience,” he reflects. “It helped me put into perspective what it means to stand up for what’s right.”

Another defining experience was Union’s internship program in Washington, D.C., where he worked at the U.S. Senate Office of Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). Following graduation, he joined Sen. Gillibrand’s campaign and eventually moved to Washington, D.C., joining the communications team full time in 2011.

In 2014, he started U-M’s public policy master’s program.

In all of his roles, from student to activist to spokesperson, he’s thankful for what he learned as an undergraduate.

“Union helped me develop leadership skills and ways to communicate effectively with people,” he says. “With great academics, and faculty and staff who are so passionate, Union gives students a college experience that’s tough to match.”

Indeed, he’s taken to heart the message he articulated at the Founders Day five years ago:It is our responsibility as young people to take the education that Union has bestowed upon us and go into the world to make a positive impact on those around us and continue the dream of the College’s founders.”

JOANNE STERN '06, Technology columnist:

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